Brand New - Need Advice

captainron19

New Member
Hi all - just joined up and brand new to sign making. I am a Fire Department Caption full time in NJ. I currently have an old Gerber Graphix 2 vinyl cutter just for cutting letters for my Stork Lawn Announcement business to make personalized bundles for the storks to hang from beaks.

I am looking into a new vinyl cutter plotter to get into a little bit of sign making and I was looking at the Master 24". Can anyone give me any opinion on this brand? I am mainly looking to do some small scale vehicle lettering and signs. The one thing that attracted me to this model was its ability to be able to cut magnetic material.

Thanks
Ron
 

Techman

New Member
I can't say this enough

Never ever buy a machine based on low price. They are low priced for a reason. The problems you have with a low end machine far outweigh the few dollars you save.
The saying is "the frustrations linger long after the excitment of a bargain fades"..

At least purchase a refurbed HIGH end machine over a low priced machine. There are hundreds of posts around that complain about the problems with non standard low end machines. Yes, some say they naver have problems. That is true. But after talking with them we find they cut small stickers and smaller letter jobs.

Just once try cutting an 8 foot panel of reversed translucent material and have it go out of registration. You will cry loud over the $100 bux you just lost.

Look at Advanced Plotting Devices. (Used to be called Anagraph) Very nice machine with full features. http://apdevices.com/
 

captainron19

New Member
So you are saying the Master brand is junk? I am only looking to do some basic lettering and graphic cutting to make decals but I would like the ability to cut magnetic material which is what drew me to the Master brand.
 

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Unless the owner of a Master confirms that it does a good job of cutting magnetic sheet, I would take such a claim as highly problematic. I can tell you first hand that even with a tractor feed Gerber Envision plotter, it is problematic. I can't imagine cutting magnetic sheet on a friction feed plotter. The blade drag would skew the material very quickly. To prove the point, take a scrap of mag and a razor blade and feel the drag of cutting it vs. a cut though a piece of vinyl. We trim out our magnetic signs on a Keencut table which uses utility knife blade, and the blade drag in noticeably greater than anything else we cut. It also dulls the blades down very quickly.

Plotter cutting of magnetic sheet is best done with a flatbed plotter and with vacuum holddown.

Cutting magnetic sheet, BTW, is not something you do with a through cut. It is done with a score cut and then you have to pop the finished cut out of the sheet.
 

sdgenxr

New Member
Techman said:
At least purchase a refurbed HIGH end machine over a low priced machine.

I agree with Techman. My Summa D60 should arrive at my doorstep in a day or two. What I found is that for a couple hundred more dollars you can have what seems to be a very popular cutter. All I can say is that I would rather spend a little more now so that I have less headaches latter.
 

Techman

New Member
So you are saying the Master brand is junk

No, not saying it is junk. But, I would much rather buy Amarican made before chinese made any day. Plus, a well known machine has a reputation to uphold. Cheaper machines use plastic bearings, gears and less substantial belts. They cant take the stress. All the hidden parts are not the best parts.

There is another site around where ppl are discussing thier cutters. It is page after page of complaints or requests for tips on how to get their machines to run right or to track right.

They are pleading for advice on settings, manuals and other problems unheard of on name brand machines. Recently in a sign chat room several spent hours trying to figure out the settings to get a lesser known cutter to operate right. It was discovered the machine used some reverse hpgl language. After all that it was not running completly right.

I wisely took the advice of another and bought an Anagraph and avoided the 'cheaper" machines. Its never let me down, it always tracks right and now a few of my peers using my cutter when they have to cut a crittical long run. Never had to worry about parts, lots of ppl around have one and could help if it had problems. Finally, most cutter software can operate a standard machine whereas only the software that comes with certain machines will run them right.
 

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
But, I would much rather buy Amarican made before chinese made any day.

Hmmmm

Summa = Belgium
Graphtec = Japan
Roland = Japan

Anagraph = Good plotters, not sure where their built anymore. The company was bought up by [font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]GretagImaging, a Swiss company, who has since sold parts of it to OCE, a global conglomerate who makes, among other things, Arizona printers.[/font]

Gerber = Headquartered in Connecticut. Known for their very proprietary approach to software and hardware, as well as pricier than the rest. Equipment is rock solid though.
 

Graphic Language

New Member
Techman said:
There is another site around where ppl are discussing thier cutters. It is page after page of complaints or requests for tips on how to get their machines to run right or to track right.

What site? email or PM me if you don't want to post the site.

We have one of these cheap chinese knock off "Master" plotters that we use for when we go on the road or as a 2nd cutter around our shop. We've had it for about 6 months now... the first one fried in a few days and would cut, but forget to pick up the blade between cuts. It was exchanged for another.. this one's OK, We've got it to track OK (we've done 8ft+ cuts with it), but it seems to not be very accurate (a 20 inch cut in the software comes out to about 20.20") and noisey. The accuracy isn't a big deal as we aren't making precision cuts when we use this one, and know to adjust accordingly in the software... this one gets used mostly for decals, t-shirt transfers and jersey lettering, so being off a bit's not a big deal. The noise can get to you.. no way you can talk on the phone or have a conversation when your in the same room and it's cutting.

One thing that bugs me about it is that I'd like to cut directly from Corel Draw easier... it'll let you, but the cut head homes to the right and when you use Corel, it wants to start from the left. You can make it home from the left until you cycle power or hit the reset button and then it's back to the right... for simple things, we use their cheesy software to desing and cutting, otherwise, we desing in Corel, export to an EPS file and import to their software to cut. I guess we could probably get some bridging software, but It's not that big a deal.

Bryce
 

captainron19

New Member
Graphic Language said:
One thing that bugs me about it is that I'd like to cut directly from Corel Draw easier... it'll let you, but the cut head homes to the right and when you use Corel, it wants to start from the left. You can make it home from the left until you cycle power or hit the reset button and then it's back to the right... for simple things, we use their cheesy software to desing and cutting, otherwise, we desing in Corel, export to an EPS file and import to their software to cut. I guess we could probably get some bridging software, but It's not that big a deal.

Bryce

I would like the site also. Bryce, I know what you are saying about Corel and I use it also. Is the cheesey software you are reffering to Easy Sign? I emaile dthem because I use Corel 12 right now for my sublimation / Mug Making and they told me to save to an Adobe Illustrator in Corel and then import that into Easy Sign. I knew I could already export a Corel into an EPS and use that so I dont know why they would have be save as an Illustrator File.

As far as other comments on this thread.....I very much appreciate the honest comments and feedback I have received. I would very much like to get into the vinyl field but like I said before it will mostly be for small window decals and very basic lettering. I understand what everyone has said about not going with a cheap machine but unfortunately all I have to spend right now is about $1,000 for a starter machine. So, putting aside the negative aspects of cheaper machines, what would you go with when looking to spend about $1K? My hopes is that I take to this well and then I can look into expanding with a better higher end machine.

Thanks Again

Captain Ron
:thankyou:
 

Graphic Language

New Member
Hi Ron,
The software that came with ours was WinPCSign ( www.signmax.com ). It'll let you pull in EPS and AI files.. I know when I imput clpe art from the Vectorart CD in .AI format, they come in as a black blob (looks OK in wireframe mode)... EPS versions come in with the correct black and white look to them. The software is OK, but it's not Corel Draw quality. It's OK for basic lettering and simple designs with clip art and such, but if your coing to make some custom artwork, better to leave that to a good application.

At $1000, you haven't got much choice but a Chineese knock off or a used machine (but then you might have to add on some refub costs to it). The next step up would probably be the SSKY.com rebranded Graphtech and then a Summa D60, but these are both $1500+ for new models.

For what we use the Master cutter for, we can't complain too much after the initial infant mortalitiy issue... it's made the money back for use that we gave for it many many times over. I do remember another complaint that I have about it.. no usb... we have a usb to serial dongle that we can use, but it doesnt work so good (I had it to hook a GPS to my laptop before this cutter), so when we use the laptop, we use teh parallel connection since our new laptop doesn't have a serial port (WHY??????????).

Oh ya.. the people at Desay can give you a windows driver to plot out of Corel... It's for a graphtec plotter, but I'm not sure which one off hand now.

Does anyone know about the JSI branded machines.. I ought to take a look at them next time I'm in there picking something up just to see what I can see.. www.jsisigns.com Are they a better better Chineese Knock Offs? I haven't run across anyone using these yet. Anyone know what they are a knock off of or who makes it?

Bryce
 

Techman

New Member
who has since sold parts of it to OCE, a global conglomerate

Your info may be dated.

Anagraph now called Advanced Plooting Devices has nothing to do with Oce.
APD is in California
 

captainron19

New Member
Graphic Language said:
Does anyone know about the JSI branded machines.. I ought to take a look at them next time I'm in there picking something up just to see what I can see.. www.jsisigns.com Are they a better better Chineese Knock Offs? I haven't run across anyone using these yet. Anyone know what they are a knock off of or who makes it?

Bryce

Thats funny that you ask that Bryce - I just finished looking at the JSI P 24 Package they were offering with a newer model soon to be released. Looks like the newer model's only difference is 32ips as compared to 16 ips in the JSI P 24. Hate to sound stupid but what does the IPS stand for? I was actually going to start a new thread asking about the JSI Brand and I saw the message you sent.
 

Graphic Language

New Member
IPS = inches per second... the speed that the blade moves through the vinyl.

I've been in JSI a bunch of times for supplies, but never went back into their showroon to look at equipment. Seems like a nice bunch of guys... my day job office is about 3 miles from them.

Bryce
 

captainron19

New Member
Graphic Language said:
IPS = inches per second... the speed that the blade moves through the vinyl.

I've been in JSI a bunch of times for supplies, but never went back into their showroon to look at equipment. Seems like a nice bunch of guys... my day job office is about 3 miles from them.

Bryce

Thanks Bryce

I just went onto EBAY and notice they sell their packages on ebay also ($700 opening bid with a $800 buy it now) I went into their feedback section and they have 100% positivand a lot of good comments. I actually emailed some of the winning bidders to ask their opinion and I will be sure to share their comments with everyone her. MAN I am glad I found this forum.
 

Graphic Language

New Member
Hmmm.. just went to the JSI site... they used to have the ProK-24 for sale back last winter... it had USB and I think the stand was included, but it was about $1295 for it.

They must have run out... Bryce
 
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